To some it’s known as the Speedmaster Moonwatch Apollo 13 Silver Snoopy Award ref. 3188.8.131.52.04.003. To us, it’s the cutest thing from Omega ever, the one that made journalists go ‘awww’ at Baselworld this year.
Snoopy is not just an adorable comic character. For astronauts, a Silver Snoopy Award is somewhat like a Purple Heart given out by Nasa. But what does Omega and space talk have to do with each other? For starters, the Swiss brand’s flagship chronograph model, the Speedmaster, earned Nasa’s nod for “flight-qualified by NASA for all manned space missions” back in 1965. Since then, the watch has become a permannet fixture in space missions: It was the first timepiece to make it to the moon, and is part of the uniform for cosmonauts today. Its nickname, the Moonwatch, shows just how tight this connection is.
The Speedmaster’s relationship with the Apollo 13, in particular, is a life-saving one. When the crew on the troubled 1970 mission was bogged by crippled computers and instruments to safely and accurately time their descent back to Earth, they relied on a Speedmaster to do the deed. Omega’s tribute to that historic moment was in 2003, when it launched a limited edition Speedmaster with a sketch of Snoopy on the counter. Fast forward to 2015 and the brand has a newer, and better rendition of this collector’s piece.
To mark the 45th year of the Apollo 13 mission, the model comes in a black and white scheme as a throwback to the newspaper comic strip for Snoopy. Note the “Failure is not an option” slogan Snoopy murmurs in the speech bubble, a credo familiar to Nasa. Another Apollo 13 feature is the phrase written on the 14-second scale on the dial that reads: “What could you do in 14 seconds?”. Apparently that was the time the astronauts took to steer the space shuttle when entering Earth’s atmosphere.
The coolest feature of the watch by far: the Snoopy mascot. The one on the nine o’clock counter glows in the dark, thanks to the Super-Luminova. While the back features a 925 Silver Snoopy medallion, set against a sky of blue enamel, and sprinkled with silver powder to give that floating, 3D burnished effect. Get one, and you’ll realise that happiness is more than a warm blanket.